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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  February 17, 2013 7:00am-9:00am PST

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so i used my citi thankyou card to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? and with all the points i've been earning, i was able to get us a flight to our favorite climbing spot even on a holiday weekend. ♪ things are definitely looking up. [ male announcer ] with no blackout dates, you can use your citi thankyou points to travel whenever you want. visit to apply. this morning, my question, how does anyone make the case against pre-k? plus, from gone di- to king to now. what global struggles for
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justice learned from each other and justin bieber and race jokes. yes, race jokes. first, twitter, i tweeted it, i meant it and i am not done with the daddy comment from friday. good morning, i'm melissa harry perry those of you who follow me on twitter, bear with me for a moment. you probably already know the story. let me tell you what happened friday afternoon. there fs watching president obama in his hometown delivering a speech on gun violence and poverty. he was speaking at hyde park academy, blocks away from the address he called home before he moved to 1600 pennsylvania avenue. the speech was especially poignant for his recognition of two audience members, nate and
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cleo pendleton. the shooting death of their daughter precipitated his visit to the city. he offered understanding of cities like chicago. president obama recognized this particular kind of gun violence is about more than just weapons used to commit the crimes. it's also about poverty, a lack of access to economic opportunity for all families. the president proposed a policy solution that goes beyond regulating guns to embrace a role for the government in helping lift struggling families out of poverty. we are singing the same tune until the record scratched when he said this. >> we should do more to promote marriage. and encourage fatherhood. we have single mothers that are
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heroic with what they are doing. we are so proud of them. at the same time, i wish i had a father who was around and involved. somehow, in the middle of a speech on gun violence and poverty, we were smack in the middle of the president's daddy issues. what i heard president obama's father detour, i thought those of you on twitter know what i thought. this is what i tweeted. sigh, the fatherhood thing is distressing for me. i know you don't mean to say single moms cause gun violence, but -- that is when my twitter exploded. i went to tweet a link to a 2009 article that i wrote requester "the nation" regarding my thoughts of the president's black daddy. saying you disagree puts it mildly. i heard you loud and clear.
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i'm not sure after reading my incomplete thoughts that you heard me. so, please, allow me to finish that sentence. i know president obama wasn't saying single moms cause gun violence, but there are several reasons we need to be wary when they provoke fa mealial situations. here is why. policy tends to be blind to the privileged. it's families economically disadvantaged or communities of color that are spectacles of concern. single mother ons chicago's south side living in poverty. allow me to remind you adam lanza may have been raised by a single mom, but she was left wealthy following her divorce. dylan and eric massacred their classmates at columbine high and raised in stable two parent
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households as jared who drew his pistol on gabby giffords. it's more complicated than just add dad. to the extent fatherlessness is the problem, there's little the president can or should do to create a solution. all of us watching that speech felt genuine empathy for the very human moment the president shared, on friday, about his own fatherlessness. while the president does have a powerful bully pulpit, president obama cannot make men marry the mother of their children. he doesn't have the power to make men be responsible parents and by the way, we shouldn't want him to. just imagine all the implications of giving the state -- how to choose to con trux or families. we don't have to imagine. we know what happens. for example, based on the track record of the well means
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deadbeat dad's provision of president clinton's 1996 welfare reform act that brings me to the third point. the extent policymakers want stable families in racialized families they could conform the policies. the war on drugs. the aggressive incourse ration of young, minority men and the rule that is bar them from voting, living in public housing, securing educational loans or finding work long after they served their time. it's largely implicated in the fabric of the liberal families. closing the gab between how things are and how we wish they could be means taking a serious and focused approach to addressing joblessness, income, education and sentencing practice that is keep black and latino men in and out of prison.
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i hear president obama. and those of you who are calling for personal responsibility and a desire for absentee fathers to step up to the plate. sure. i mean it's a deeply, human, personal reaction. i get it. but here, we are talking about policy. let's be honest, a woman can do everything right, get an education, marry before having children and can still end up a single mom. dads don't have to be awful, uncaring deadbeats to parent from a distance. the reality of the world we are living in right now is this. single moms are responsible and they are the ones raising sons and daughters every day. single mothers in the u.s. work more than their peers in developed nations. they are holding up their end of the american bargain that offers opportunity in exchange for effort. in response our government owes
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them more than hopes for a husband. they deserve nothing less than reform that gives them the tools to raise children who can imagine a future beyond the nearest street corner. that means health care, affordable housing, quality public schools, child care. thank goodness president obama went on to offer that more complete picture. a crisis as pressing as our nation's question of urban violence deserves more than the simple suggestion that absentee fathers are the smoking gun. i promise. i'll let my panel talk when we come back after the break. ♪ they see me rollin'
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we're talking about president obama's speech on gun violence and poverty. specifically, the moment when he said, quote, we should do more
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to promote marriage and fatherhood. cleo is with me. he is, also, by the way, a native of chicago's south side. matt welch and thea, elan white is a comedian and creator of this week in blackness. a look at race, politics and pop culture. you have heard my take, what is your reaction? >> i'm interested when the president talks about his daddy issues. it happens in a predominantly black audience. it's one that can happen. it happened in the bush administration promoting marriage. it's a moment which we were saying what are you going give somebody an extra benefit
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because they are married? what are you going do? it's disrespectful for the people who can't get married or don't want to get married. to force it, i understand what he's trying to do. i don't know that in practice it works. i think it's a moment which, you know, he can come as a liberal and join as a conservative. >> it's interesting. there's multiple president obamas. there's the one doing the bully pulpit, which he does in church rather than i'm here to make a policy speech. it felt uncomfortable to me in this moment. >> the president always try anglated being of the left and carve out space in the center. he's absorbed the rhetoric of the right. the trickle down economics and
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trickle down racial justice. the solution to urban and equality and the audacity of hope turned on the notion that liberals and civil rights leaders have had their heads buried in the sand on the causes of poverty. he linked them to cultural behavior, it's the poverty we have been wrestling with since the 1960s. >> i would go back further. >> yes. but to our national political discourse, it's been front and center. more importantly, this is not a politics responsibility of a person who works in the white community. we don't hear the president describe the structures of white households and the poverty that ensues those communities. we know for a fact, we know for a fact that marriage is a dying institution. >> for everybody.
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>> for everybody. rates of children growing up in single parent households are through the charts in white america. >> yeah. >> there's no way that he can articulate a politics of responsibility just for blacks and somehow say that he's doing this as a president of all the united states. >> i guess part of what i say, he did not racialize. he's standing in a racialized space. there is, on the one hand a critique of president obama. i guess it's less interesting to me than the critique that i experience not so much about what president obama says, but the reception of it. the audience that says yes, this is what is wrong with us. what is wrong with us is us. we need to do better. if we do better, everything will be all right. my angst is whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. does it keep you from asking
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about the war on drugs and keep you from asking about things other communities feel free to ask for. >> yes. >> the way i look at it, it's more complicated. the reason why the audience was so happy is it's a conversation that's happened within the community all the time. the idea that fathers are not there. i did not have my father around. i understand where that's coming from. but, what happens is, as president, coming from that stance, he has a lot more riding when he says it. so, he's saying something that we have heard in the church, in the communities over and over and over. it's because he's the president. in all honesty, we asked him. talk to everybody. when we does it, everyone is like thank you, yes. if the guy we look toward in certain parts of the community look toward as an example, maybe it will change how things work. i thought he reached his old
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black person card. old black people say that all day long. >> that's true. that is certainly true. he may be doing his bill cosby act but it matters because he's president. >> chief of executives of countries. president of policy, the bully pulpit and moral persuasion. you are right in your set-up of all this. policies matter and contribute to this and they are terrible and need to be changed. that is an urgent, urgent problem. you have a high percentage of poor, minority or lower class minority or white, whoever, men ensnared in the criminal justice system. it's going to affect the cultural impact. of course it does. when you have so much prohibition, it creates black markets attractive to people without a lot of choices or they become ensnared by the fact people can chase them down.
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they stop and frisk in new york. you have to address that proactively. look at the policy that is come after these calls about restoring the family. policies like welfare reform. it led to the government in the business declaring people the father of children of mothers they never met. it happens. it's a surprise to a lot of americans to hear. because of welfare reform, if you have a name that is consistent with the name of a guy they remember meeting ten years ago, you might get a letter. >> i got a letter one time. when i was 17 years old, my mom got a letter about me being the father of someone. my mom, knowing her child said did you get this girl pregnant i said no, she said i know. she put the letter down and kept going. >> it doesn't necessarily end there. >> it doesn't. >> i want to look a little bit. the single mother thing is -- i
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think part of my reaction to it is having spent the majority of my daughter's life as an unmarried mom. i have a little bit of this reaction. when we look at single moms living in poverty. we know it's associated with it. single moms, overall, 41% live in poverty except when they have full time year round work at which point single moms a 14% poverty rate. this isn't so much an issue about the opportunity of good paying, full time work and family structure. >> i agree. i think what's happening is the president's policies blind everyone to the fact that we should be asking about a politics for economic equality. it's different. you don't have to think about that. if you are part of the women who work all the time, you are okay. part of it is economic peace.
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he's not speaking of that. >> he did. >> what happens is everybody forgots that piece and it goes back to the respective piece. >> i want you to respond to the history. valerie is the adviser to the president talking about gun violence in chicago. she said this about the community she remembers growing up in. >> when i was a young child growing up, not far from where this girl was killed, if i went down the block and got in trouble, my mother got heard about it. it comes from the community being involved and raising children. we have to partner with faith based institutions. >> this is the great politics and respectability narrative. back when i was a kid, it was totally different. we have to be able to do that again. >> couldn't be further from the
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truth. as black folks moved into places like chicago, the rhetoric of crime, the stigma of shame, being a danger to the communities wasn't as ver lant and viral as it is today. in fact, it shaped the landscape of chicago's neighborhoods, creating pathways for white immigrants who had been previously tarnishes with the strokes of being criminals. the very communities, this sort of community -- it's struggling from racism. there's a big difference. that was an era of industrialization. people had jobs. we live in the same neighborhoods. my mother went to hyde park academy. the place he spoke at is where my mother went to high school. it's 63rd and wood lawn is the end of the line.
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the elevator railroad ends there. the point is these are the same communities. they once had work. they don't have work anymore. when work disappears, the great social science of the university of chicago matched the very communities and looked at the occupational structures based on profiling a zip code. you come from wood lawn, you can't get a job as well as somebody else can who is black. >> that's where we will come to after the break, which is social science and the university of chicago. when we come back, i'm going talk to a social scientist about the argument for marriage. is it just a guy thing? >> happy birthday melissa and happy birthday to the staff of the show. there's going to be many, many years i will say these messages. melissa, you are probably my favorite roommate that i have ever had. oh no, i... just used my geico app to get a tow truck.
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fatherhood is the answer to a variety of problems from violence to poverty, the research tells a more complicated story. families where there's a mother and father they are not immune to the force that is create a pitfall. the bonds of ma tra moeny -- those are the findings of my next guest, a scholar whose research focuses on men of color, fatherhood. the center of race politics and culture at the university of chicago. he's the author of "social work with african-american males." nice to see you, waldo. >> good to see you as well, melissa. >> what is it that we need to know about the role of fathers? >> there are a number of things we need to know. many of those things we already know. we need to also put them into a
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broader context. you know, fatherhood is a, in many ways, a developmental role that even those who enter into it fully prepare to assume a lot of, many of the responsibilities. often do better at it over time. in a way that perhaps motherhood occurs. but, particularly for those who enter into fatherhood somewhat unprepared whether as a result of individual failings in terms of early transition to fatherhood as it lessens, those men are most definitely much more likely to experience a lot of difficulties in terms of being able to uphold what are generally viewed as expectations
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of fatherhood. it's interesting because my research suggests even among those men who tend to maintain the expectations firefighter themselves still must find a way to kind of reconstruct their notions of fatherhood often without a good script for doing so. >> i wanted to ask you a little bit about exactly that question because i think part of how people respond to president obama is as a great dad. he seems to enjoy children and others, he's a baby whisperer. we have all kind of great photographs of the president with children. there's a pleasure in watching the kind of performance of, i don't mean that in a bad way, watching a nurturing father figure especially from an african-american man. i also wonder if there's a kind of blaming, sort of self-blame
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th ing that occurs if you are an adolescent father, poor father or incarcerated father who can't do the president barack obama version of fatherhood. >> yeah. as i was saying, i think that blaming is both a self-blaming as well as a societial blaming. a self-blaming that results in forms of psychological role strain, paternal role strain that is believing you ought to be doing something that you are unable to do but not quite sure how you go about doing it. then, again, there's a larger societial expectation that we have for fathers. i think many of the points that the panel has made in the proceeding session kind of illustrates the difficulties
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with respect to particularly those who enter into fatherhood unprepared to do so often are challenged by. but also those who go in fairly prepared. the point made earlier with regard to the whole industrialization as really put forth a huge challenge, you know, for men in terms of their, what may be viewed as their major role. those who were previously able to go into the labor market and get jobs with little, fairly limited education find themselves at a real loss right now as we have moved more into the surface economy. i think this is no more apparent than in the african-american community among african-american fathers. >> waldo, thank you so much. i have long appreciated your work on fathers and the complex
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ways you help us think about the roles fathers play. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. up next, a moment from the campaign that i am never going to forget. >> happy anniversary to one of my favorite shows on cable television. oops. melissa harris-perry, congratulations to you and the entire nerdland team. and it tastes good? sure does! wow. it's the honey, it makes it taste so... well, would you look at the time... what's the rush? be happy. be healthy. [ male announcer ] from our nation's networks... ♪ our city streets... ♪ skies around the world... ♪ ...northrop grumman's security solutions
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we need moms and dads to raise kids. the benefit of having two parents raise kids, it's not always possible. a lot of great single moms and dads but to tell our kids they ought to get married before having babies. the lever of prospect goes down dramatically. >> that was mitt romney answering a question about gun
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violence. if his words sound familiar, it's because we heard similar rhetoric in president obama's speech in chicago. what are the rules about who gets to criticize single parent households? raul raez is here. >> people went nuts when romney said it. >> it's interesting the context where people can criticize single moms. there's sketches in the minority communities when they are exposed to the largest society, that's when people become very uncomfortable. for someone like mitt romney whose own legacy in terms of family and wives is complicated. when he talks like that, it confused me when i first saw it. i didn't think it had to do with gun violence.
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so many other aspects and much more meaningful. lately, it seems single moms are a very easy target to blame so much on single moms doing so much and carrying so much weight. it's like a blame game. if only there was a dad there. it's mystifying. >> look, i'm a member of a two-parent household, i can highly recommend it to individuals making that choice. >> sure. >> talking about yesterday's sociology and yesterday's political discussions, it's stuck in the '80s. we have the ability for single mothers to say i want to go out and find sperm and become a single mom. it's a different household. we have gaye households and all kinds of new sociology being developed. we are talking like we are stuck in 1974 or something like that. i wonder if we are sort of
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hitting on the stale notes looking backwards and not recognizing the world in front of us changed dramatically. >> it's not stale because those households still fight for inclusion in other ways. >> yeah. >> many people know someone with two mommy's or non-traditional families. those kids, even in urban areas they still go through daily struggles. itis not the mainstream. >> i feel like we have to separate out the emotional piece. this is president obama saying i wish my father had been there. i agree with you, being married to a man i love and is fantastic in helping raise a child who is not bilogically his, it works and it's great. that said, right, when we are talking about the outcomes of children emotionally how they feel whether or not daddy is paying the rest of his life, that's different than what we think of as the outcomes. the outcomes are more related to poverty than two-parent
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households. how do we lift people out of poverty, not how to get them married. >> the thing that struck me, i feel when we talk single parent families, it's almost the blame of the mom. it's the shame game. you can't have a husband or something. the real thing we should do is how are we going lift you up so you have the job you need, the child care you need so you as a single parent, you and your child can succeed. it's a really tough thing about sacrificing a father in a different kind of way than a mother. that's the whole kind of push/pull that's going on here. i didn't like it when romney said it. it was so -- if you are a single mom your kid is going to have a gun and go out and shoot somebody. >> it's also the retrograde element of the right or the republican party that found romney talking binders for the women.
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there is, within that party, those who hold these conservative values, they sense women should not be outside of the home. >> stay in your binder. >> if you are at home, you are able to provide that uncompensated household labor that guarantees positive outcomes. there's a larger construct here that comes out of the christian right, the evangelical movement. >> the only good stay at home mom is one whose husband is providing all the income in the household. if you are a stay at home mom who is poor and needs the assistance of government -- >> it's not okay. >> you should not be able to stay home. go to work right away. >> paternalism is a bipartisan affair as we have seen from obama's remarks here. life of julia, her life was taking care of her or buffetted by government intervention.
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it's when that paternalism is directed to lower income, lower class communities that we should get our hack ls up. there's nasty history with it. >> it's directed toward women in general. with mitt romney, he spoke several times how proud he was that he never had a nanny. never had household help. his wife was raising five babies by herself. why not have someone to help her out. five kids is a lot. it was almost like he was saying this is your job. you do the woman's work. stay busy. it happens in affluent families as well. >> to bipartisanship, think about things the president held on to. if we talked about the shift in the countries from the 1980s around welfare policies, scapegoating, the president is evoking a faith-based initiative construct that says where he sites in the speech giving
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support to churches so they can do the work they do. it's at the heart of tapping into the social conservatism that silences the experiences of same-sex or gender loving people and at the same time is a community that is very quick to grasp on to this personal responsibility ethic. >> i so appreciate you bringing that um. it was an amazing speech that did a lot of important work in terms of thinking about the economic connections. it also has a complicated web that is part of the narrative. i feel i should tell my dad i love him because he really is great. up next, sticking with the theme of family and what our kids need. the pre-k debate. [ female announcer ] today, jason is here to volunteer to help those in need. when a twinge of back pain surprises him. morning starts in high spirits,
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on thursday, the president was in georgia where he visited a public preschool that he sited as a role model for early education. he made the stop in part to promote one of the proposals he made in the state of the union address to make preschool available to moderate to low income families, which brings me to the number seven. >> every dollar we invest in childhood education is save $7 later on. >> yes, seven is the number that comes from the study done by james and his colleagues at the university of chicago who found, in fact, for every dollar spent on early childhood development, there's a 7% to 10% return per year on that early investment. it's not just monetary. without the childhood
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intervengs, at-risk children are 25% likely to drop out of school, 40% more likely to become a teen parent. 60% more likely to never attend college and 70% more likely to be arrested for a violence crime. it's according to the research. with such compelling statistics, 28% of all 4-year-old's in the country were enrolled in state financed preschool blocks. those in need aren't necessarily who you might think due in part to federally funded programs like head start. those going without early childhood education are in the lower, middle class. that is 34% of children in families that earn $50,000 to $60,000 a year in preschool programs compared to 42% of
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families earning less than $10,000 less annually. the president's proposal is aimed at families at or below 200% of poverty. that brings me back to the number seven. right now, for every single dollar that the federal government spends on the nation's kids, the government is spending $7 on our elderly. taking into account the sequester cuts looming march 1st will determine whether they are available to make the president's proposal reality. that's next. [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health
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every dollar we spend saves $7 down the line, increases high school graduation rates and reduces the crime rates. that was vailry jared who i had the opportunity to speak with on friday. she echoed the research the
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question is how do we pay for it according to the center of american progress providing preschool for all 3 and 4-year-olds that cost the government $98.4 billion over a ten-year period. with kuss on the horizon, would lose $406 million in funding in the 2013-14 school year. that means 200,000 children would lose out on the program according to the head start association. those cuts would be a huge slash to what is already a decade of funding for head start. joining our table is stephen barnett, the director at rutgers university where he focuses on the economics of early child care and education. first nerd question, we think we know there's a $7 return but it
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comes from observational studies. we look at kids in head start. talk to me about the random assignment. what do those studies tell us? >> the $7 figure is actually from both kinds of studies. there are randomized trials that show $7 or more returns just as there are simple observational studies. there's two trial that is have cost analysis. one is not as high as seven, it's in the two to three two one range. we can't put a dollar value on it. i know that's my job as an economist, if your kid doesn't have an abortion it's important, but i can't put a dollar value on it. >> if you don't go to jail or don't end up pregnant when you don't mean to, they have a social good on the back end but
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we don't know if it's a $10 social good or $20 social good. you are a bit of a skeptic on the questions of early childhood education of this pre-k. >> having a 4-year-old daughter, i have it. my bank account would love for there to be universally good pre-k education where i live. there's not. so there's that. one of the seven numbers that you reference is pursuant. the $7 for the elderly versus one for the kids. that is the fact of our budget situation now, long term. the reason why we have sequester cuts is we are supposed to look toward the fiscal stability which we aren't anymore. that money that we are promising to seniors by when they turn 65 regardless of their sense of need for it is crowding out everything else.
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that plus the debt service. we have to think about these are competing against one another. if you want to have all the spending on education. the other thing is we have been spending a lot of money on education in k-12 to not very good results. we have more than doubled the per student, per capita adjusted for inflation and results are flat. why do we think we are going magically have better results for pre-k, i'm not convinced. >> this is the claim on the right. well, your k-12 is a mess, right? why should we now push it back to 4-year-olds? >> i think we should push it back because it had other kinds of effects. if we think about the single mothers, if your kids are in school at 3, 4 and 5, that frees yo up to be able to go out into the work force. you know where the child is. i think it helps them to socialize. if you aren't able to get your kids in early, the language
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skills don't happen. you are reading faster, the comprehension. all the problems i'm reading about, hopefully they can work on those earlier. >> is it right? does pre-k set social skills like reading and math? >> absolutely. a good preschool program you learn to think before you act. i's an important skill for staying out of jail. it's an important skill in school. it's important in the job market. to learn how to get along with other people. to solve a problem. both of us want to play with a truck. there's the solution that the big kid takes it away from the small one or is there another way? hobbs is right. hobbs is right. i's what preschool is about. we need to teach kids all of the skills that they need very early on to succeed in school, to succeed in life. some of them are reading math
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science, some of them are taking personal responsibility and getting along with others. >> raul, it sounds so reasonable despite our fundamental spending problems, my bet is we are going to have a hard time forming a bipartisan movement toward this. >> i agree. complicated these matters is changing composition of who is in the public schools. i think roughly, one in four people, kids in the public schools k-12 is latino. that number is going to grow from this point on. right now, latino children, 3, 4, they access pre-k and lower levels than their counter parts, african-americans and whites. the language abilities matter. many are coming from homes where spanish is spoken predominantly or the parents are overworked and cannot give them the care they need at home. i think it's the political challenge to convince everyone that we need to, you know,
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support this and contribute to this. there's a tendency to look at them as others. >> we have to figure out if we can convince matt first, m thank you to steve barnett. thank you for coming in. more with raul, and matt. next up, race talk far beyond black and white. also, the color of comedy. more nerdland at the top of the hour. congratulations melissa on a year of making tv smarter. could you dumb it down a little bit so the rest of us could seem smart, too. is that asking too much? have tot our social media visibility. more "likes." more tweets. so, beginning today, my son brock and his whole team will be our new senior social media strategists. any questions? since we make radiator valves wouldn't it be better if we just let fedex help us to expand to new markets? hmm gotta admit that's better than a few "likes." i don't have the door code. who's that? he won a contest online
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can curlers! tomato basil, potato with bacon... we've got a lot of empty cans. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. how dowe get doing...olished room and make it shine? we've got a lot of empty cans. ...with a store full of ways to get it done. we can all throw on our work clothes... ...and throw out any doubt. because right now's the time to take those rooms from... ..."think i can do this?" to... ..."let me show you what i just did." more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. outsmart your budget with this shaker vanity, a special buy at just $199. welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry. king's christianity was neither
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narrow or inclusive. most critically with ghandi. he led india to dependence through non-violent protest. after the 1959 trip to india, 11 trips after ghandi's assassination and 54 years ago this month, dr. king wrote in the essay, my trip to the land of ghandi, we were looked at as brothers. struggling to throw off racialism and imperialism. it wasn't just a feeling of brotherhood and unified objective, dr. king experienced a real sense of purpose and strategy. here is another passage from the essay. the trip had a great impact on me personally. it was wonderful to be in gandhi's land to talk to his
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sons, grandsons and other relatives. i left india more convinced than ever that it's the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in this struggle for freedom. joining us is khalil mohamed, matt welch, and thea butler and rajeev, the founder of infinity foundation. the last time you were here told me you were working on a book on exactly this topic of how african-american history and the story of india relate and interconnect to one another. talk to me about that. >> gandhi started his struggle in africa. his model was a hindu model. martin luther king's model was
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christian. they converged on the idea of non-violence to resist oppression. one of the interesting questions is what if this were applied today in the struggles today that turned violent. what if non-violence was used. in their struggles, also, there were so many factions and pressures from other groups to make violence the method and they were great enough to resist that. so, i think there's a lesson from their common history and also the african-american experience in this country has been very important in the creation of non-white identities as a kind of opening door for others. the civil rights movement led to others being able to migrate. immigration act followed soon after the civil rights act. most indian americans, like me, are able to come to this country. while the african-americans have very little successfully created
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a positive identity and not confused about are we white or not white, positive about who we are, they are new in this country and haven't done that. there's still the bobby jindal syndrome that says i would rather be white and the other type who says if i have enough money and i make it materially, i don't need to worry about these issues. the real project of being distinct and american at the same time in a multicultural set up is something indian-americans have yet to start. >> as i was reading it and trying to think through it, i was just, once again struck. gandhi was in south africa. it was a train case being thrown off a form of public transportation. it's the ferguson case here in this country that determined separate but equal, but also
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rosa parks that brought dr. king to the floor as a civil rights leader. >> yeah, i think it's important to recognize in the world that was defined by colonialism, black and brown people didn't have to read each other's works to come to a common understanding that humanity was being oppressed. it took certain moments, con tect individuals to muster the courage to learn from around the world and test the ideas. so, before king, james farmer had study's gandhi's efforts and were actually king's tutors on this issue. they started the efforts through core in the north as early freedom fighters testing desegregation or really expanding integration outside the south before it became known as the southern civil rights movement. it demonstrates how long the effort for anticolonialism had
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been unfolding over the course of the 20th century. >> we have the deep history. we have the potential of continuing engagement. this president, president obama, part of what i found so fascinating about him is the extend which he is a cosmopolitan citizen of the world. chicago may be home. his first state dinner here in the u.s. was with india. we also know that he and the first lady travel to new delhi and were there. there continues to be a possibility of developing this understanding of both antiracism and anticolonialism or antiimperialism. how do we build the international cosmo poll tan way? >> on this side of america, it's helping students realize this history is here. we just got through this piece and how this is in martin luther king's taking.
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i think people tend to see there's a -- they see a separation. what i want them to see is a togetherness. the same movements are happening whether it's monks or others, non-violence, how the movements progressed. they say they have gone forward. we need to focus in on there's another way to do this tharks way is non-violent protest. that's an important piece especially in america. we think of protest as a violent component to it. that makes a difference. >> there's an interesting narrative that goes back to personal responsibility. they were both men who thought a great deal about their personal individual life choices, but in a more political way rather than this narrow amorality. >> if you go back to the letter from birmingham jail, a great american document, it's a blueprint people used around the
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world ever since including fighting communism in the 1980s. it talks about the necessary conditions to civil. two of them are underrated or under looked at are self-purification. it's taken directly from gandhi on some level. you have to say i am driving all impure thoughts from my mind and motivation but also the gathering of facts. i'm going to not just try to find the person on the other side who is a monster. i'm going to go against the accommodationist, white preachers saying you are going too fast. go out there and engage with that and get the facts totally on your side. it's going to give you a certain moral authority going forward. people picked up on it throughout the world. we see it in the arab world. they picked up on the same currents of the charter revolution movement in the '80s. it's a direct descendent.
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it's an amazingly powerful operation. >> be the change you want to be. be the change so you have to start with yourself. that's the purification part of what you just mentioned. i think another aspect, which we shouldn't forget is besides the disobedience, there was a decol onizing. gandhi wrote a book about the liberation, freedom of his nation 100 years ago. in 1909 or so. that was his blueprint critiquing british system of thought. british paradigm, framework. he was accusing his countrymen becoming soldiers for the british army and they were the ones firing bullets and enforcing all the british laws. this is also an intellectual result. >> in popular culture, we like
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to say free your mind, you behind will follow. stay there, we are going to stay on this issue of how the struggle continues and how we can be part of making progress. melissa, gramgss on your one year of nerdland. love being on the show and getting a chance to host the show. you are on the weekly dvr. l.l. says congratulations. [ lau] ahh, cloudy glasses. you didn't have to come over! easy. hi. cascade kitchen counselor. look! over time, a competing gel can leave cloudy hard water deposits, but cascade complete pacs help leave glasses sparkling. cascade. love it or your money back. bikes and balloons, wholesome noodles on spoons. a kite, a breeze, a dunk of grilled cheese. catches and throws, and spaghettio's. that's what happy kids are made of. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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>> we're back and talking about how anticolonial movements, antiracist movements and the continuing struggles are an international and global phenomenon to learn from one another. raul reyes is here.
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you want to jump in on this? >> part of the problem in moving forward and learning from history is challenging the narratives of the past. to decolonnize history. to talk about schaumburg, they are currently celebrating an underexplo underexplored, unknown history of africans coming from ethiopia beginning in the 14th century to the 20th century. people recognize as africans who rose to be architects, sailors who really rk to this day are responsible for shaping the landscape of the subcontinent. it's part of telling the larger story of people who have been colonized before the colonization period were able to contract humanistic enterprises. in the contemporary moment, one of the things king says is he makes a pointed critique saying
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white, black and brown behave the same, the world over. >> right. the challenge moving from the anticolonial moment to a world where the colonials were in charge or should say the indigenous people in charge is a problem of recognizing what must be done, what must be undone in order to make the world a better place. he talked about the untouchables. he said in india, the problem was cast. in america, segregation. it was the same problem. we did not want black people to inherit that system. >> what i like about you bringing us to that is that intersection that part of what i heard you saying is that there is a story to be told about african-american development of identity and politics and ideology moving together. i think it's a story that as latino communities from all
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parts of the world develop an overarching identity of latino in the u.s. to do it without falling into the trap the racial identity is sufficient. remembering that we have to have that connection with gender and with class and with all these other identities otherwise, we are going reproduce the same hierarchies. one thing we have seen in the latino community, among the younger people, the dreamers, they are noticing we are stronger as a coalition. it's been interesting to me, sometimes i have been at rallies or events, i see activists and dreamers carrying signs with slogans from doctor king. that is sort of a new phenomenon. it's not often the younger generation is willing to look back. in the past, latinos and african-americans have this pointless argument about our struggle is the real one. i think now, the younger
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generation recognizes we are stronger together. that's the results of the election prove it. also partnering with the gaye and lesbian community to move forward. >> as white americans become a minority, which is about to happen in a few decades, we have to change the discourse from we blacks, we hispanics and asian americans to we people of color and create a new america. a new kind of america. i don't call it the post american century, i call it the new american century. that means there's an opportunity to create a new nation. it's not built on your history and philosophies and world view and all that. >> for that to happen, we have to read one another's works. we didn't have to read one another's works to see that sense of solidarity. to actually read the letter from the birmingham jail, to engage
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with the writings of not just the quote of king, the writings of him and gandhi. >> institutions, conversations, forums to bring people of color together, in anticipation of the time we will be the majority and not talk as minorities anymore. we will be the majority. that has to happen. we are thinking in terms of separate groups. the institutional mechanisms need to be brought about in forums like this. it's actually cross cultural. >> matt, it seems to me as the one white guy at the table, i'm going to address you on this. part of the reason we have seen a movement toward the bobby jindalism is whiteness continues to carry privilege. america looks more like this table than tables on other sunday morning shows, whiteness
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carries a set of residual cultural and economic privileges that make it valuable for groups to be as proximate to whiteness as possible. >> calling it whiteness, barack obama is in the middle of that. he's as american as it gets. there's always going to be a dominant cultural ethos here. part of your what project is talking about is what happens after the revolution, after you fight against actual serious oppression. it's a different thing there. one part of you says i want to hold on to this cohesiveness and identity here. the other part is then struggling like what do we do now? we are more of a plurality. that has to be and is difficult and happens to every activist group. it has to accept your ranks have more than you think.
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the great thing in america right now, not as a value judgment, but as a large thing is we are all becoming more hyphenated. we don't want to be republican or democrat or conservative, liberal, progressive. we are crazy hyphenated. how do you fit kind of a sort of identity or community based politics in that. it's difficult and sometimes gets ugly. >> can i say there's a danger here in seeing our demographics shift and our actual rainbow diversity from the real politics of the world that we live in and privilege and structure and power. i want to sort of see the world through the eyes of harold and kumar. >> all right. >> is that legal? >> it is legal. there's no marijuana. it demonstrates how conscious we are of identity politics and playing on stereotypes.
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one of the scenes is you have an asian-american playing the asian stereotype as well as kumar playing the indian-american. the opening scenes, the two white guys at work trying to figure out how to go party because one has a lot of work to do. they come up with a brilliant idea. let's give the work to the asian guy. they walk over to harold and say you asian guys love crunching numbers. we just made your weekend. this notion that that is actually post racial. >> yep. >> somehow he's at work -- >> yep, yep, yep. >> embedded in a culture of high finance yet it teases the stereotype that is do that. it's a category of honorary whites. >> right. yes. >> that's the danger. we think we are all operating on the same -- >> what i love about that is our next segment is on race jokes.
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somehow you totally made that transition for me. thank you. up next, did you hear the one about the black comedian thrown off stage at the republican leadership conference. i'm not joking, except i'm joking. we're going to be joking. >> i was thinking about your anniversary. you are right. it's right around valentine's day. i want to thank you for bringing more of the love to our weekend lineup. plus you get to sleep in a little more on sundays. all good. e. ♪ ♪ shimmy, shimmy chocolate. ♪ we, we chocolate cross over. ♪ yeah, we chocolate cross over. ♪ [ male announcer ] introducing fiber one 80 calorie chocolate cereal. ♪ chocolate.
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the battle of bataan, 1942. [ all ] fort benning, georgia, in 1999. [ male announcer ] usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation because it offers a superior level of protection and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans, and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto-insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve. when we talk about race, we tend to speak with serious overtones. joking about race is no joke. we tend to do it. often with a ting of nervousness depending on the audience. there's a fine line of being funny and offensive as we found out when we went into the vault. for a look back at the 2011 republican leadership conference.
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obama impersonator, reggie brown was there to entertain the crowd. he was pulled off the stage after telling racially themed jokes. take a look. >> a few months back, the family and i took a nice relaxing vacation in the state of my birth, hawaii. or as the tea partiers still call it, kenya. my favorite month is february, black history month. michelle, she celebrates the full month. you know, i celebrate half. my father was a black man from kenya and my mother was a white woman from kansas. so, yes, my mother loved a black man and no she was not a kardashian. >> oh, i hope we get to keep our show after this next segment because we are going to ask, did you hear the one about justin bieber up on "snl" doing his
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black history month thing? tips from a white canadian on how to tell a race joke. that is next. [ mom ] with my little girl, every food is finger food. so i can't afford to have germy surfaces. but after one day's use, dishcloths can redeposit millions of germs. so ditch your dishcloth and switch to a fresh sheet of new bounty duratowel. look! a fresh sheet of bounty duratowel leaves this surface cleaner than a germy dishcloth, as this black light reveals. it's durable, cloth-like and it's 3 times cleaner. so ditch your dishcloth and switch to new bounty duratowel. the durable, cloth-like picker-upper.
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last saturday, pop star justin bieber took center stage on nbcs "saturday night live." he wasn't just the musical act. he was hosting and singing. as all things done are, the gig was highly anticipated. which songs was he going to sing, what would he wear and how would he do in the monologue. he sang nothing like us, dressed like vanilla ice and the monologue went like this. >> what is your name? >> sophie. >> you sexy, you know you're sexy. did you also know phyllis wheat lee was the first black woman to
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public a book. >> is that ever progress. you are driving me crazy. denzel washington invented the peanut. >> i don't think that's true. >> did you know black folks invented the kwanzaa? >> it's barely a fact. i think everyone assumes that one. >> the biebs made a comic on america's black history month and it worked. at least the live studio audience thought so. with me, the hilarious comic and author of liz free or die, liz winstead, comedian and co-director of the muslim's are coming. university of pennsylvania professor, not a comic, but good for a one liner, the funnyman who always gets me nuts, elan james white host of this weekend
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blackness. it is 2013. can we tell race jokes? is race funny? >> i think you can, i think obviously the rule for comics is you can make fun of your own, there's no problems with that. when you make fun of other groups is the problem. i think we know the difference when someone is being funny and having a good time or they are intentionally trying to demonize or stereotype someone. >> i was respectful, you know i love you. when ever you say the rule, i get like ah. i think you can talk about whatever you want. i have said this a million times. you talk about whatever you want and you understand that once something passes your lips, it is for all to judge. your intention is thrown out the window. there are joke that is are amazing. someone uses a buzz word and don't hear the higher context. they hear a couple words and
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they won't let grow there. i think you just do what you think is the best joke and own it. >> i follow the rule of who is the victim in the joke. that's mine. i'm not saying that should be the rule. i'll go anywhere as long as i'm not putting down someone or a group ha is constantly being put down in general. so, then at that point, i feel like a joke works completely. >> mocking the powerful is more funny than the powerless. >> i thought justin bieber was hilarious. it's playing on america doesn't know much about black folk. the lily white kid going around throw thag in. it's hilarious. no problem with that. >> one of my favorite make fun of the powerful, i'm wondering does this work. i love wanda psysykes, i'm craz about her.
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she's talking abdomen black hair. let's listen to wanda sykes on black hair. >> you ever seen a biracial kid and white mother that has no idea what to do with the hair so the hair is just all matted up and never been combed and lint and car keys and q-tips all in [ bleep ]. find a black friend. take your child to a black beauty parlor just [ bleep ] drive-through the hood and stick her head out the window. >> great. >> we love it. black hair is full of pain and angst for us. it's a great moment. >> it's a great moment. i call it constructive humor. there's a purpose under it. it's funny and everybody laughs because we know somebody like this. it's take the kid somewhere. the way you deliver has a
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difference about it. if there's malice, if she took a different turn, you're talking biracial kids horribly. when you take the funny tone and you know how to do the delivery, that changes everything about it. >> i think, too, when we feel uncomfortable about jokes about race, it's unclear what the intent is. why are you talking race anyway? why is it in your act? when there's that intention about it. >> at the same time, i know folk who is are mad about that joke. >> they are mad right now. >> i'm a white mother with a black child and i do her hair just fine. calm down. >> the joke is going to offend somebody. everyone goes on twitter, it's full outrage and use full capital letters. as comics we are going to give in, never push up against any sensibility about race,
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homophobia or keep pushing and pushing. i agree with liz when she says, you know, we can say whatever we want. i agree with that. i think everyone has absolute freedom of speech. then they should be marginalized. the comic who is are homophobic, they can say it. >> i think of my dad who was a civil rights guy and he loved archie bunker. he could not stand to miss it because watching the performance of that version of racism was a kind of moment. >> my dad was archie bunker. it's weird and i write in my book about his favorite show is death comedy jam. he would watch it at night and love it for wrong reasons. elan knows. i was like wow. this is this funniest thing on
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tv. i'm never going to be a black man so i'll never be as funny as these guys on tv. it was problematic to me. >> richard pryor had an element of truth. every joke has a little bit of truth in it. there's truth. the joke either works or doesn't work compared to that. have we gone to the point where we can't make these jokes because every time you make a joke, something is going to happen. >> or if it's not your personal truth, you refuse to see the greater truth in it. >> here is the thing, what you are saying, we basically have gotten to that point. at this point, if you talk about anything, there's going to be a group that is touched by that thing you say. if you said this thing and don't acknowledge me -- i do. i'm speaking from this perspective. does it matter? you are now banned by that group and have to apologize.
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you have to say listen, i'm not apologizing. the joke is the joke. i -- if you are bothered by it, i accept you are bothered by it. understand this is part of my truth. i am not making fun of you. i'm talking about what i'm dealing with now. just like wanda sykes. >> you started with there's a rule. if i think of is there a race joke rule, i'm probably going to go with black face for me is a rule. a bit of a line. yet, there's a sarah silverman moment. i thought we would look at that as well. >> i spent my life trying to live the world with people like you. there's one thing i do know, seeing you burn in hell will be my personal heaven. good day. >> i had no idea. i had no idea how cruel white people could be to us. >> on the one hand, like my
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general rule is, black face and i feel icky. she's mocking the black face thing. it's what she does all the time. she does it really well. she's somebody, who again, takes it on, makes no apologies for it. when she has to defend it. >> i have a similar rule, i totally let that rule go for tropic thunder. i thought that was hilarious. tears coming down my face. >> just because it's a theme song doesn't mean it's not true. >> technically is the rule if it makes you laugh, there's no rule. i'm uncomfortable with rules. >> maybe rules aren't the right word. i have people upset when i don't make fun of their group. i do a show for a muslim american organization and make fun of arabs. they say you didn't talk about
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us, pakistani's or indians. we have gone from don't make fun of me to why aren't you including me. russell peters is bringing all minority groups that haven't been mocked and they love it. he's bringing them into this party. >> mock me, please. get your jokes ready. when we come back, i ask you to share your favorite punch lines. melissa, congratulations and happy anniversary. i can't tell you how proud i am of your show and what your team has done. we have broken new ground with this show, it's smart, it's fun, it's in-depth. we take on topics no one else is doing. keep it up. to everybody on the staff and the team, happy anniversary. [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health
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>> funny that the only time your race or gender is questioned is when you're not a white man? i think white men they get upset. they get nervous like a minority or another race gets power. they are scared their race is going to do to them what they did. they get nervous. they start screaming reverse racism. this is reverse racism. isn't reverse racism when a racist is nice to somebody else? that's reverse racism. what you afraid of is called karma. so, i wonder, like a moment like that, you are going along with her and you think, this might be the only way to do that kind of social criticism. if you delivered that social
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critique without the humor, it can't be heard. race jokes are the place where we can talk about race. >> you can. it also brings more people in. it's not a speech about race. a comedy show, i talk about phobias and arab issues. they are laughing. you bring in more people. i gave a speech today and ten people show up. >> i get brought out to universities across the country. i feel like i'm brought in to bring diversity and i literally go and the african-american studies teacher is like we need you here to say the thing about the privilege. if we say it, we get yelled at. you say it and people laugh. louie, it's what it's for. >> honestly, i have been sad at every point during the obama presidency because we don't have dave chappell. i want what he would have done with it.
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missing that, there's something missing. >> it's another lens to laugh about some of the things going on. >> it's been painful. >> there's a sense in which you can bring somebody in to do something else. if i could only bring somebody in to do my jokes and i could do the serious part. we try to flush the jokes away. we talk about race and class and gender so much, if we joke about it, it's seen as another thing. >> we are frustrated as social critics. all three of us focus on policy and not just the servicy stuff and wish we would be brought in more to be the color commentary. you do it all the time. like, we are happy to do it and talk amongst ourselves all the time. how do you cut through it and go, you know, here is a short boom -- >> the three of us, like the mod
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squad, we tour colleges. >> people are dying for me to be part of it. >> give me your favorite race joke or punch line on it. >> it's the newest one i'm doing. they talked about it earlier. white people will be a minority in america in 2040. white people are freaking out. i say don't. first, you get a month to celebrate your heritage. you get whitey week. celebrations of white people, bad mitten and racial profiling. white people will be exotic. a white girl, where'd you meet her? white castle. >> the white minority jokes. >> make fun of white people. >> i have two. one is a joke of mine where the joke is simple. it would have been kind of fun to see her man cane as the presidential nominee.
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one of my favorite jokes was, we did 100 years ago on the dailey show. mars introduced an ad campaign, a black musketeer. the ad campaign was so succe successful, they decided to name it the martin luther king boulevard. >> i love it. >> my favorite, it's maybe not of my jokes, half of those i can't tell here. >> i was like -- >> hit the delay button if we need to. there might be a baby. we don't want this in our lives right now. the joke i think about a lot when it comes to racial humor is a dave chappell joke. he was picked up by a limousine driver. he wasn't prepared to go together. you have to be warned. the guy gets a call. what happened? who said what?
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i'm on my way. he says liquor store, liquor store, gun store. where the hell am i. he's taking a whole picture of the community. the social economic issues. he looked out the window at 3:00 a.m. and saw a baby. what you doing outside? selling weed. it's one of the most hilarious things. it's a baby. it's hilarious. >> so, mine is two-fold. we had a joke when i was broke in grad school, if a black person said they were broke, they never -- if a white person was broke, they have $500 and they don't know the meaning of being broke. i love michael jackson, so forgive me, during the time everybody was trying to figure him out, michael jackson taught me two things. you can do whatever you want and you don't have to be black. even if you are black. >> that's the thing. the only things you have to do
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is be black and die. >> you don't have to be black anymore, michael jackson fixed that for us. >> all you have to do now is die. there's that. i have a joke, i don't know if i'm allowed to tell it. if not, it's -- imagine here is my favorite race joke. it's a young juish man bringing three girls home to meet his mother. he says i'm going to marry one of these three girls. chat with them a bit and predict which one i'm going to marry. the mom chats with them. mom, which one do you think i'm going to marry. she says this one on the right. he says mom, that's right, how did you know? shesays, i don't like her. all right. that's my race joke for the day. okay, i always appreciate having the humor and insight. thanks for coming and joining us. when we come back, i'm going to give you a peek inside this little black book.
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you have seen it sitting on my table for a year. you want to know what's in it? [ lisa ] my name's lisa, and chantix helped me quit. i honestly loved smoking, and i honestly didn't think i would ever quit. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. it put me at ease that you could smoke on the first week. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation,
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this weekend is the first anniversary of the launch of mhp show. if you have been with us, you notice we have a large black sketch book on our table. here on mhp, we call it parker's book. it belongs to my daughter. we first launched and she asked me to get a book and have every one of the guests to sign a note to her. what we realized is parker's book is the historical record of nerdland. we decided to take a peek beneath the covers to see what
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messages she has been getting. here are our favorites. dear parker, your mother can be wrong. stay black. parker, your mother is great. sure you are very proud. spend her money while you can? from katon dawson. and be proud of her and we are of her. rev al sharpton. how about this one? park parker, your mom is a superstar. i'm sure you will be too. ezra. and our favorite. sorry my handwriting is such crap. parker, i look forward to covering your olympic gold medals in the near future. that is from alex wagner. this is one of my favorites to
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parker. you are our future. from nancy pelosi. this one got parker excited. parker, i hear you are already running for office. you let us know emily's list and we have your back. this is a great one, too. parker, i saw the do the "gangnam style" danger. you were great. and parker, can't wait until 15 years from now when you're in the host chair. that is chris hayes giving away my job. parker, i hope to some day meet you. it's been quite a year. i can't wait to see what the next year will bring. thanks for joining us at our table. when you agree and when you don't. thanks to contributing to our discussions online. thanks for telling us about foot soldiers in your community. thanks for sharing this wild, wonderful journey we are all on together.
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and look, there is a blank page in the book here for you. beyonce. that's our show for today. thank you to lizz, dean and anthea. thanks for watching us. coming up is weekends with alex witt. mine was d jibouti, africa, 2004. the battle of bataan, 1942. [ all ] fort benning, georgia, in 1999. [ male announcer ] usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation because it offers a superior level of protection and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans, and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto-insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve.
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